Last week on Tuesday October 13, 2020, Ambazonia leader in jail, Sisiku Aukyabe, walled on frontline leaders of the liberation struggle to against a common enemy. The leader of Interim Government Care, IG Care, said time to work together is imperative. But another leader in jail, Deacon Wilfred Tassang has said before asking people to collaborate, Sisiku Julius Ayuktabe should issue a very humble apology to the people of Ambazonia for convening that Abuja meeting whatever be the agenda, apologise to Ambazonia for putting himself over and above the people and nation, apologise to his people for being the cause of so much stress and distraction, dissolve the Prison Government without pre-conditions and submit himself to the will of the people, declare support for the Swiss Initiative and for any other Initiative that the free leadership will endorse in the event of the collapse of the first, avail himself and his team to make contributions willingly and upon request to the team that will be chosen to represent the Ambazonian people during negotiations, and to take part in the same if the people trust him and his team well enough.
The CALL TO COLLABORATE: AN OMINOUS CANADIAN RHAPSODY?
I am surprised at the reaction of the Struggle to the recent calls for collaboration from Bro. Abdulkarim and from President AyukTabe. Surprised because some have made it look like this word is only now being introduced into the diction of the Struggle whereas it has been used to the point of redundancy already. In this write-up, I intend to acclaim these calls, but most importantly, to express serious reservations about an evil smoke that seems to emanate from them and is trying to pollute and permeate the very fabric of the soul of the movement. Also, and I hope I won’t be stating what others have already stated, I will be underlining resistance to collaboration with concrete evidence so that no room is left for doubt in the minds of our people. In so doing, I will not be holding the position that because some blocked collaboration yesterday they shouldn’t call for it today; I will simply be holding the position that they should have recognised the doors for collaboration that have remained open ever since they were made, and walk in. Now is the time for the truth to be spoken with boldness.
The Abdulkarim Call
The call to collaborate from Abdulkarim actually smarted me sore because I list expected the slant he used from him. Being in full or partial knowledge of what some of those he called to collaborate have made and failed or been slighted, Bro. Abdulkarim should have known better. He came through as one who is afraid to speak the truth to some particular people, and so, prefers to jumble things up hoping that things will sort themselves out. His follow-up analogy about what he would do in the case of his feuding parents; not taking sides, but screaming them into being reasonable and acting like adults, says it all: if he tells Mama she is wrong, who knows, she might take exception to it and deny him dinner. If he tells Papa he is at fault, who knows what the old man might do about his school fees? This is the situation in which most reasonable people within the Struggle find themselves, and consequently, truth and justice have suffered.* As we don’t seem know where the tides will turn to tomorrow, it is better to take the middle ground, waiting to swing to the left or right when time comes, depending on the wind and the tides.*
I said the Abdulkarim slant smarted me sore because as he himself testified on his live show, he was here in January this year to convince my brothers to support the Swiss Initiative. The Struggle should know that Abdulkarim did a wonderful job convincing us of the credibility of the Swiss Initiative. What did he get for his efforts? The leader of the prison delegation placed conditions or didn’t he? AyukTabe said he would not consider collaborating with anybody if Barrister Fru John Nsoh didn’t apologise to him. Except for the parental feud analogy, could Abdulkarim, in the light of the above scenario, actually dump Sako and AyukTabe in the rubbish bin of uncollaborative intransigence? As a member of the Ambazonia Coalition Team, Abdulkarim knows that the ACT had long reached out to AyukTabe’s team for collaboration, and that that invitation for collaboration has never been withdrawn. (If it has been withdrawn, I stand corrected by ACT). Isn’t this (open invitation to collaborate) being more than fair to people who have consciously and deliberately caused so much setback and pain to the Struggle?
The AGC-AGov.C Intransigence
Before I move on to the AyukTabe call for collaboration, I would like to briefly highlight what efforts have been made towards collaboration since this phase of the Struggle started in 2016. Even before the lawyers strike started, talks had already started between the legal and teaching corps towards collaboration. The various teacher’s syndicates across the board had already signed a MoU to enable them work together. A little understanding of the English language will inform anyone that the very essence of a consortium is unity and collaboration. The First and subsequent Conclaves were attempts at collaboration. The Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front, SCACUF, repeats collaboration in three words; Consortium, United, and Front.
I don’t know how much time the convenor of the First Conclave gave participants to ready themselves to travel to Nigeria, but I think Comrade Milan Atam took into consideration the specificity of each country when he fixed the date. Nigeria was specifically chosen because of the Consortium and SCNC leaders’ presence there and their inability to travel. Also, our people, residents of America and European countries don’t have issues securing visas into Nigeria, even at short notice. Even then, not all the movement leaders attended. The case of HRM Gorji Dinka is understandable. It is also in the norm for movements to send representatives other than their heads, but when this becomes a disruptive pattern, it also becomes unacceptable and should not be tolerated. This has been and is the particular case of the AGC-AGov.C’s leader, Bro. Ayaba Cho. It is on record that he failed and deliberately so, to attend any of the Conclaves. He was in Nigeria during the Third Conclave and deliberately stayed away in spite of all the pleas and pleadings from me and others for him to join the others.
The situation of the Fourth Conclave was even more dramatic. I did everything in my power to convince Brother Ayaba and other leaders who were sidelined to travel to Nigeria for the Conclave, and I succeeded to get them to travel. I met with Ayaba and Akwanga on the eve of that Conclave and we agreed that if Ayuktabe would not allow all the leaders of movements and others he invited to only take part in the closing ceremony to attend the Conclave from day one, then all of us would stage a walkout. To put it in clearer terms, that I, Tassang Wilfred, would boycott the Conclave if Ayaba Cho, Boh Herbert, Akwanga Ebenezer etc were not allowed to attend the Conclave from day one. The next day though, Bro. Ayaba with whom I had a travel plan was nowhere to be found; he’d switched off his phone. Until I left Abuja for Zaria by 10am local time, Ayaba’s phone hadn’t been switched on. He didn’t travel to Zaria, but I hear as usual, he sent a representative. Did he expect me to boycott a meeting because of him even in his absence? He certainly did. Nothing could be more disruptive than this comportment. How could a leader travel from Norway to Nigeria, get into a gentlemanly agreement and not keep his word? Was he afraid that AyukTabe would be persuaded to accept him take part in a meeting he didn’t want to? Isn’t that why he stayed away?
I had actually thought that our abductions would bring the leaders together. Yes, it did, but only as far as street demonstrations in DC went. Ayaba, though severally invited, refused to attend any of the meetings, including the ASCPC that led to the creation of the failed Southern Cameroons Leadership Council, an otherwise excellent collaboration platform.
I would like to forget that Ayaba Cho in 2017 said “The first person to shoot his way to Buea would dictate the politics.” But how can we forget this when my brother has remained firmly in this uncollaborative posture? How can Abdulkarim dump Sako, AyukTabe, and Ayaba into the same rubbish bin of uncollaborative intransigence? And this, while acknowledging himself that he has succeeded to meet with all other leaders except with Ayaba? Why did Abdulkarim emphasise on this if not to state that he tried but Ayaba refused to meet with him?
In 2019, Bro. Ayaba sent an emissary to me here in prison, encouraging me to remain strong. Thanks bros! For a reply, I sent him word and that message is still very clear in my spirit. It said: ” If AyukTabe and I were the problem, why can you not now collaborate with your brothers seeing that God has removed us from the scene?”. When his messenger returned to me, he said: “Ayaba wept upon receiving the message.” What difference did it make, his weepinging? He has not changed.
About collaboration with Ayaba, and his AGov.C, it is still my innermost desire, all the controversies notwithstanding. I have even from prison not ceased letting my brother know that he is in a position to make the difference within the Struggle; all he needs to do is embarrass the enemy by denying himself and aligning with his brothers in the coalition. Shall not the very soul of Ambazonia be raptured when Ayaba does this?
The “Now that We Know” Call
I think we can let go of Abdulkarim here and consider AyukTabe’s call for collaboration. My first reaction when my brother, Julius, shared the message with me was to acclaim it. That acclamation stands as in these words I sent to him:
“God bless you Sir! It is true that this is not what I’ve been expecting, but I must admit that in my spirit, this is a prelude to what our people are expecting from you. I am looking forward to that day, and to that celebration.”
The big question is whether AyukTabe really knows the virtues of collaboration? What does collaboration mean to him by the way? Is it that everyone else should join him and his agenda even from prison, or in his definition, does he consider joining others? I’ll crave your indulgence to allow me suffer you to go through somethings that AyukTabe should consider now that we know that he knows what we have known all along. Considering them will humble him and enable him to take that decision which I said in my acclamation, would cause celebrations throughout the Struggle.
I am happy that in his call for collaboration, AyukTabe shows that he is conscious of the existence of eight million Ambazonians, even if dozens, if not scores of thousands of them, have been killed.
I am happy that he states in a rhapsodic manner: “now that we know,” even if I am still in doubt what that which he thinks we now know is. Is it that AyukTabe is only now realising the virtues of collaboration? Or is it that he actually never got the appeals for collaboration from ACT and the IG?
In the meantime, I don’t want anybody to get excited because I acclaimed his call. I particularly would want my brother to consider the fact that he has been a stumbling block to collaboration. I already mentioned the incidence with Abdulkarim here in Kondengui in January 2020 ahead of the latter’s departure for Canada.
👉🏽If AyukTabe considers the fact that he actually resisted the fact that Sako was seeking collaboration with “mere leaders of movements”, then he will humble himself and take the proper decision. In fact, the expression “stooping low” was used, and if my memory doesn’t fail me, I had Barrister Eyambe and Dr Ogok supporting me in the position that the IG led by Sako could “stoop low” if this would bring the needed unity and collaboration. This was before the APNC and the ASCPC conferences.
👉🏽If AyukTabe will take into cognizance his dissolution of the movements (article 34 of Fourth Conclave resolutions), then he will humble himself because this act meant that he had abbreviated the Struggle to mean himself, excluding all collaboration. Who are those he wants to collaborate with? The movements which he dissolved, or the IG which he reset, or with the individuals whom he listed in his call? Are these persons sufficient on to themselves or do they have the mandates from some structures they represent?
👉🏽If AyukTabe will remember that he left behind a Draft Constitution which was adopted after his abduction as the tentative law guiding the interim government he put in place, and this law and the tentative institutions which he also put in place, and that all of these now depend on that Constitution, then my brother will humble himself and take the proper decision, that is, if he values strong institutions as opposed to strong men.
👉🏽If AyukTabe considers that he is at the moment, the only reason why the Foreign Minister of the Yaoundé junta told the 2020 UNGA75 that Yaoundé doesn’t know who to talk to, then he will humble himself and take the proper decision.
👉🏽If AyukTabe truly and urgently comes to the realisation that he is the one single reason for this new hype in division and dissonance within the struggle, won’t he reconsider his posture and take the decision that will embarrass the enemy and give our people reason to breathe a sigh of relief?
👉🏽If AyukTabe considers the fact that he is in fact in a compromising position and that just this alone is stressing up the person, soul and spirit of the Struggle, will it not facilitate his taking the appropriate decision having humbled himself?
👉🏽If AyukTabe considers that he opposed the Swiss Initiative in preference to negotiating in chains, in preference to some Pan African Forum during which 100 Southern Cameroonians and 400 Camerounese would meet as though in parliament, thereby reducing the Struggle to an internal affair, then our brother will have no choice but to humble himself and take the proper decision.
👉🏽If AyukTabe considers the fact that he declared support for a man, Maurice Kamto, “President in waiting” of La Republique, which Kamto has made it clear that Ambazonia will not see the light of day under him as head of La Republique, then AyukTabe will truly humble himself and take the proper decision.
👉🏽Is it possible that AyukTabe truly thinks that what happened at Nera Hotel was not an event? Before you accuse me of bitterness and refusal to let go, you must accept that this question and worry, or the absence of satisfactory answers thereto, is the reason for the present disorder within the Struggle. There is only one way to sweep it under the carpet; that the convenor of that meeting tells the Ambazonian people the raison d’être of the same. Even as I write this, our brother has not as much as even considered voicing the slightest apology to the Ambazonian people for organising the meeting that led to this mishap and that has now caused all the internal shredding. Isn’t that a proper thing to do, apologise? How can anybody in the present circumstance lay claim to leadership, talk less of doing so from behind the bars of the enemy?
👉🏽Is it possible that AyukTabe, on account of the foregone, truly considers himself to have legitimacy and moral authority to despise everyone else and to call for collaboration when it pleases him? Is it truly possible? What right does our brother have to mount the pulpit as it were, and to pontificate to the very people whose sermons he has despised without as much as tendering an apology for slighting them? Won’t it have made more sense if our brother, rather said something like:
“* Dear Ambazonian leaders, dear Ambazonians, from the very depths of my heart, I am sorry that for ….and for that…, I failed to give the appropriate response to your appeals for collaboration. Thank you for keeping the invitation to collaborate open. Going forward, I avail my team and myself to work with you all towards the realisation of our restoration quest.”* Won’t this have truly made more sense? And would not anybody who opposed such humility be seen as the problem?
While his call for collaboration is acclaimed, Ambazonia must at this time face the facts of the matter before deciding whether to collaborate or not, with who and on what agenda? What will be the consequences of collaborating with A and B; on what framework and how? The Struggle is already in a collaborative framework; the ACT, whether we like it or not, is testimony of this. The term “collaborate” used by Abdulkarim and AyukTabe is therefore not new to the Struggle diction. What is new here is what AyukTabe “now knows” about this subject.
Before anybody rushes into taking any decision regarding these calls, the Struggle should decide whether or not it has reason enough to cast away every doubt concerning the Prison Government. What will be the object of collaboration? Shall we be collaborating towards homeland restoration or towards continuous servitude? Collaboration regarding the only and present option for a mediated settlement (the Swiss Initiative) or collaboration towards an internal solution within the framework of the Yaoundé dialogue?
Like I mentioned, I acclaimed the AyukTabe call and it stands acclaimed for the simple reason that our brother now knows that collaboration is a virtue. We have fast and slow learners you know, and we can’t deny anyone the knowledge they have acquired because they acquired it late. Or can we? However, the matter must be most carefully examined.
What Ayuktabe Should Do to Rebuild Lost Confidence
As for what Ayuktabe should logically do now that he knows that the destiny of eight million Ambazonians is at stake; now that he knows that power concedes nothing; now that he knows what we have always known-that unity is a virtue; Brother AyukTabe should quickly proceed to do the following in a bid to gain back lost trust:
- Issue a very humble apology to the people of Ambazonia for convening that Abuja meeting whatever be the agenda.
- Apologise to Ambazonia for putting himself over and above the people and nation.
- Apologise to his people for being the cause of so much stress and distraction.
- Dissolve the Prison Government without pre-conditions and submit himself to the will of the people.
- Declare support for the Swiss Initiative and for any other Initiative that the free leadership will endorse in the event of the collapse of the first.
- Avail himself and his team to make contributions willingly and upon request to the team that will be chosen to represent the Ambazonian people during negotiations, and to take part in the same if the people trust him and his team well enough.
I put it to the Ambazonian people that the above, whenever it is done and sincerely, will break down every wall of resentment, suspicion, doubt and fear, and most importantly, it will shatter Yaoundé’s flimsy argument that she doesn’t know who to talk to, even after we all know that the international community has identified interlocutors for Ambazonia around the Swiss Initiative, Team Ambazonia, or ACT, if you will. This is what I, in all modesty think will put Ambazonia into a mood of frenzy. I will not be surprised that the people of Ambazonia will, without cohesion, take to the streets with our brother’s effigy in popular acclamation, thanking God for his change of heart. Is this something out brother considers doing for his people now that he knows what he now knows?
SCNC Joins the Fray
As I write this, I noticed that the SCNC through its Acting Chairman, Agbor Prizzo, has joined the fray, calling for collaboration. While I must underline the fact that Chairman Nfor has spent all his time in prison calling for collaboration, his Acting Chairman’s call comes through as very suspicious. The sole reason for the SCNC’s call is the death of our strong and valiant soldiers. Is it today that Comrade Agbor is realising that soldiers are dying on Ground Zero, or is it as someone wrote, because of the death of the renegade and rebellious General, Ayeke? If this be so, as I strongly think it is, then I wonder on which side the SCNC stands in this struggle. Is the SCNC not aware of the atrocities of this fallen renegade General? Is the SCNC not aware of the villages and farms this man burned down and destroyed? Is Comrade Agbor Prizzo unawares of the threat which this “valiant soldier” became to Field Marshall, the one soldier La Republique so badly wants to archive? Otherwise, how comes that ever since Ambazonia’s soul has been crying out because brother has turned his gun against brother, the SCNC has not spoken out to condemn it, and even in this note, has been unable to condemn it? Suspicious, won’t you say? Why didn’t Comrade Agbor Prizzo simply remind AyukTabe that the doors of collaboration opened for him and them have always been open, and are still open? Which other collaboration is he talking about? Ok. I call for collaboration too. What difference does it make? Let us all invest time and effort calling for collaboration and see how far it takes us if we don’t actually answer the call to collaborate, which call has always been there.
The Ominous Canadian Rhapsody
Now, these calls are the more suspicious because I have noticed that there is the repetitive sound of a sorrowful Canadian rhapsody around it. There has been over the last few months a persistent call from some brothers in Canada for collaboration. Their collaboration is aimed at sweeping away the Sako led IG and putting in place a new team. They sounded the same note of desperation found in Abdulkarim’s call; people are dying; children are not going to school while others are sending their kids in the diaspora. Of course, we know all these. While these notes of desperation comfort me because I know it is a signal that God will soon step in, I must state here that any call to dissolve the Struggle leadership and start from zero is a plan most evil. The worst is the call to take away leadership from the diaspora in favour of Ground Zero. Aren’t we at the time that when even Elijah escaped into the cave to hide from Jezebel? If the Bishops and church leaders in Ambazonia have lost their voices, then who can speak for our people from Ground Zero? Let us not be misled. (Even Abdulkarim in all his “boldness” has shied away from self-defense.) This feeling is substantiated by the first reaction to Abdulkarim’s call signed by a certain CMM. CMM in his reaction, calls for the setting up of new leadership with a certain Supreme Commander in charge from Ground Zero. Nothing could be more hazardous. I fear that we have reached the point where some people have said, “if we can’t have it, we better dash the pudding into sand;” that is, if these are not agents of La Republique. Ambazonia should not listen to this ominous Canadian rhapsody. The way forward is not backwards.
However, cheers to AyukTabe’s collaboration call which like I said, is indicative of a shift, and I pray that it is indeed a prelude to the much awaited decision.
Conclusion and Final Recommendations
Concerning the call for collaboration therefore, my humble position is that it will be foolishness to pretend that Abdulkarim, AyukTabe and Agbor Prizzo have not made these “overtures”. Seeing that the free leadership including that of the SCNC has made these calls in the past, and seeing that they have kept the door open for everyone to come on board, I pray that the Struggle should consider the “call” from AyukTabe as a shy and timid acceptance of the invitation from Team Ambazonia to collaborate. Like it was with the Nfor Ngalla Nfor basket during the draft, my position has not changed. Not all prodigal sons will return home forwardly; some will be so ashamed that they won’t consider themselves fit to walk in when everyone is home; they might only sneak in. The conscientious loving father when he notices that his runaway son is sneaking around, will deliberately leave the door open an inch for this son to sneak in. Will not the rest be settled thereafter in the family? It is in this regard that I humbly request that President Sako and the ACT should take advantage of this and gently reforward the invitation to collaborate that was not considered before. But now that we know what we now know; I mean that now that a lot has transpired since the invitation to collaborate from the IG and the ACT was ignored leading to even more doubts and fears, it would be prudent to quickly put President AyukTabe through some procedures and find out answers to some pending burning questions, beginning from the agenda of Nera Hotel. If the free leadership can after those procedures cast a vote of confidence on him, then , great. If not, the collaboration project should be frozen, for it will be even bigger foolishness to pretend that the things that happened did not happen. There is no room for ostrich games. We should not rush into blind collaboration out of sheer excitement for I fear that the entire Struggle might be pushed into collaborating with “collaborators”, making all of us collaborating enablers. The outcome of such foolishness shall be collective ruination. If we choose however to cut off our noses because they are ugly, we will only end up despising our faces.
Mine is only one voice and opinion out of the lot; let Ambazonia, the free leadership, decide.
God is around the corner. Be still.
Prison Principale Kondengui, Yaoundé
Deacon TASSANG Wilfred
Also Read Sisiku’s letter to Ambazonia leaders